Sunday, November 4, 2012

Daylight Savings Time

I hope you remembered to change your clocks. “Spring forward, Fall back,” is the way we remember which way to turn them when the time comes. Like taxation and railroads, there is a time when Daylight Savings Time (DST) did not exist. Its emergence was controversial, but over the course of a lifetime most of us have come to take it for granted.

According the Wikipedia Ben Franklin mentioned daylight saving as early as 1784. It was never implemented, however, until the First World War. The man credited with bringing the concept to fruition was New Zealand entymologist George Vernon Hudson who wrote a paper about it in 1895. When it finally came to pass, the practice was praised for its “benefits to retailing, sports and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours.”

Though most of North America and Europe practice DST, there is a large swath of the world that used to do it but have abandoned it. And then there are many countries, in Africa and Asia that never adopted this practice that we take for granted in the first place.

It began in 1916 with Germany and its allies. Its primary aim was to reduce the use of electricity in the evening. The Brits and their allies quickly regarded it a good move and followed suit. The United States and Russia took a little longer, but by 1918 all was in place in the Western world. There was pushback though, and many revisions to these matters have occurred between then and now.

Daylight Savings Time has had many opponents, but it would seem there are many constituencies who benefit from the longer days. The golf industry picks up an additional 200-300 million dollars a year from the practice and the U.S. Department of Transportation once claimed that there are fewer traffic fatalities when days are longer. Still, it's a complicated game. Wouldn't be easier if we always had Daylight Savings Time and didn't have to remember to notice it's time to change our clocks?

Anecdotally, since DST always occurs on a Saturday night, it probably has an impact on church attendance on Sundays. (speculation)  We had friends who were perpetually late to everything and sometimes arrived as much as forty minutes late to church. At a certain point of lateness, the husband would refuse to go in because of his embarrassment in this regard. One day, they decided to deal with it and determined to be early for a change. As the walked in, thinking it ten minutes before the service was supposed to start, they saw that the sermon was actually nearing its close. They had not realized Daylight Savings had reverted back.

In short, don't forget to pay attention to the times.... 

1 comment:

LEWagner said...

I come here to Ennyman's Territory for the cutting edge in pertinent commentary. ;)
Actually, in this modern age, about 4/5 of the clocks in the world change time automatically -- anybody who's gotten to your blog has already had to turn on the computer. Unless their computer is really really unusual, it has a clock that has already turned back.
Nice day! I hope you're doing something appropriate with it.